Guantanamo Bay

Martin Puchner examines a state of exception

In April, days before the Abu Ghraib story broke, the Supreme Court was hearing Rasul v. Bush, the case of a British citizen captured in Afghanistan and held at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, without being charged and without access to legal counsel. There were, it turned out, intimate connections between the Abu Ghraib scandal and the Rasul case: Major General Geoffrey Miller, for example, the architect of Guantanamo, also helped to shape procedures at the various detention and interrogation facilities in Iraq. More generally, Abu Ghraib served as a window, one of the few we have had so far, into the secrets of Guantanamo Bay, a place where the aberrations of Abu Ghraib threaten to become the norm – where the exception, in other words, becomes the rule.

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